Biking and Walking ARE Transportation
On the Newshour with Jim Lehrer on August 15, 2007, U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) Secretary Mary Peters claimed that trails and bike paths are not “transportation-related.” This use of funds, she claimed, partially explains the Minneapolis bridge collapse by diverting bridge repair funds to bicycle paths.
In response, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy partnered with the League of American Bicyclists, encouraging advocates to write Secretary Peters to express their disappointment in her comments. After receiving thousands of concerned letters, Sec. Peters responded that her comments were not intended to indict bicycle and pedestrian investments broadly, but rather the processes by which transportation funds are sometimes distributed. It is, she noted, U.S. DOT’s belief that “bicyclists and pedestrians are legitimate and welcome users of our Nation’s transportation system. They are a healthy part of the solution to congestion in our urban areas.”
Secretary Peters' acknowledgement of biking and walking is welcome, but much work remains to be done to make active transportation a priority at U.S. DOT and at the state level. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has met with top executives at U.S. DOT to press your concerns, and we will continue to encourage U.S. DOT to improve our nation’s facilities for cyclists and pedestrians.
Thank you for taking action and expressing your thoughts and feelings to Sec. Peters. Because of your work, she has publicly clarified U.S. DOT’s position on the role of bicyclists and pedestrians in our nation’s transportation system.
Go here to read Sec. Peters’ letter.